Okay, one of the things that really bothers and upsets me that I see at the CJC is the presence of children there.
It isn't that I don't like children. I adore kids.
But it breaks my heart to see them at the courthouse. A five-year-old doesn't need to be made aware that Daddy or Mommy broke the law. Parents should be a child's hero for as long as a parent can convince them to.
Kids damn sure don't need to see their parents taken into custody.
And don't get me started on all the germs floating around that place.
It happens every day. You will see the wife of a defendant toting along their small children to court, so that she can be present during his court proceedings. I know the common answer to this will be "well, they probably couldn't afford a baby sitter". I agree that is, most likely, true, but dammit, those mothers should put a priority on babysitting their children at home rather than babysitting their husbands in a courtroom.
It is also a semi-common trick for defendants to bring their children to court on the days that they know they are going to plea and go into custody. They then proceed to "hide behind" their children and insist that they can't be taken into custody because there was nobody there to take care of their kids. Unfortunately for both them and their children, that tactic rarely works.
Kids don't need to see that.
I once tried a 19-year-old gang leader who had ordered the murders of three different rivals in his gang. One of those murders (of a fifteen year old boy) had been carried out. Right after the Judge sentenced him to Life in prison, I walked out into the foyer and his one-year-old boy waddled up to me and smiled.
I felt like shit, quite frankly.
I know it wasn't my fault that the little boy's father had made the decisions that he had, and I know logically that Life was the appropriate verdict. But I felt so guilty for having received that little boy's smile, when I had just argued for (and gotten) a life verdict. My friends in the Office told me that I had probably done the kid a favor, and maybe they were right.
But it sure didn't feel that way, and as long as I live, I won't forget that little boy and that sweet smile.
I'm sorry for the rant, folks, but I had to get it off my chest.
Kids belong on playgrounds and at school.
Not in a Criminal Courthouse.